Every year, twice a year to be exact, we have to go through the process of getting used to altered hours. We either gain or lose an hour in bed and suddenly the morning routine looks entirely different. Instead of waking up with some light, we start to wake up in the pitch black in Winter and it can be a hard adjustment to make. It’s not just us that feels it though, our pets are just as susceptible to getting thrown off and having their routine upset by the change in clocks.
What makes it even harder for our fluffy family members is a lack of understanding - you can’t explain why everyone is suddenly doing everything at a different time. While our pets might not be able to tell time in the same way we do, you’ll notice they perk up at certain times of the day like dinner time or when they expect a walk. They thrive on routine and learn to predict when to expect certain things so just changing when that is can cause some distress.
A change in their feeding times
Food is one of the key things our pets need to survive and they have to rely on us entirely for this. Our furry family members often lack control over many aspects of their life including food, exercise, and sometimes even sleep if we have to go places with them when they might rather be napping. Having a set routine for these things allows our pets to predict when to expect food which really helps with their confidence and feeling secure however if that changes, they can become stressed and anxious.
Having food an hour later might not sound very extreme and they certainly won’t starve but if food doesn’t come when our pets expect it then they have no idea if it’s ever coming at all. You might notice that they start to pace, and your canine companions might whine and follow you around until it’s finally time to eat. Shifting their routine by even an hour can take some time for them to get used to so they might be lingering around their food bowl a little early.
Altered walking times
Just like their expected feeding routine, dogs will know when they are usually walked. We are creatures of routine, just like our pups and if you tend to walk them after work then the clocks changing will make this later and give them a whole hour to get antsy and overstimulated because they’re expecting and waiting to go out.
Not only does the time of their walk change because of the clocks but that time change alters how their whole walk looks. Along with the seasonal changes, if you are the type of pup parent to walk early in the morning or after work, these walks will now be shrouded in darkness. Not only could their usual walking routes change because of bad weather, no more romping through long grass and exploring nice shaded woodland. You might be more inclined to do walks along the pavement to avoid getting too bogged down. All of these small changes can cause some distress in our fur babies.
Even the equipment you need to go on walks will change. For walking in the rain and the cold you may need a waterproof jacket so you don’t have to dry them off after every stroll. The Rufus & Rosie Reflective Padded Dog Coat is great for keeping your four-legged friend nice and warm and it has the added bonus of being reflective too. If you’re looking to make yourself extra visible you can get a light up dog collar or an attachment like the Smart Choice Led Flashing Silicone Blinker that can attach to their existing collar. All new equipment should be introduced gradually to avoid stress, especially if your pooch has never worn a coat before.
Risk of separation anxiety
With the clocks changing it means you might be going to work an hour later but you’ll also be coming home late which can cause some upset if you have a strict routine that you usually follow. Routine creates expectations and when those expectations aren’t being met you can find that your pooch becomes frustrated or anxious.
If they’re not usually prone to separation anxiety but after the clocks change, you find that they’re becoming destructive or resistant to you leaving the house it’s likely a touch of separation anxiety caused by the upheaval in their routine. You may have to start from scratch and teach them how to be comfortable alone again. They need plenty of things to keep them occupied when you’re away like stimulating toys filled with tasty food that they can gradually work on so it doesn’t feel as long on their own.
How to help pets adjust to the clock change
When you’re trying to work out what will help your pet settle into their slightly altered routine, gradual changes should be the first thing you consider. While they might not be aware of it coming, we certainly are and the best way to help them cope is to prepare them. In the week or two leading up to clocks changing, try feeding them ten minutes later every day. Such small increments will prepare them for short wait times so they won’t be as stressed about waiting by the time the clocks do actually change, it will just be another ten minutes as far as they’re concerned. The same goes for arriving home and going for walks, if you can alter the times gradually, your pooch will be less thrown by the changes.
If you already know that your four-legend friend struggles with change, you can get even further ahead of the curve by providing anxiety relief like Adaptil Pheromone Diffuser which works by releasing calming pheromones into the atmosphere. For all of your calming needs to prepare your beloved pet for the clocks changing, visit us in store and online.